The deteriorating Spanish-style hacienda along Interstate 10 that housed the popular Las Alamedas Restaurant & Cantina for almost three decades was being demolished Tuesday as the property owner plans for a new development at the site.
The restaurant, a one-time hot spot for weddings, birthdays and fine Mexican dining, relocated to Katy several years ago and the 8615 Katy Freeway property had been vacant since at least 2009.
The site, which for years was tied up in litigation and probate court after the death of the former owner, was purchased in early 2014 by Hedwig Redevelopment Partners Ltd., an affiliate of local commercial real estate firm Fuller Realty Partners.
"I know people have memories and are sad to see it go," said Stephen Darnall, principal of Fuller Realty, adding that the large building had not been maintained and had been vandalized over the years. It had been stripped of its copper wiring and mechanical and electrical equipment, he said. Windows had been broken out, and it was infested with termites.
"At the end of the day, it didn't make sense financially to rehabilitate the building," Darnall said.
The property is in the city of Hunter's Creek, a Memorial village, so there will be size and possible use restrictions on what can be built there.
Darnall said there are no immediate construction plans, but long-term, the property could house new office, shop and restaurant space.
"We're excited about it, but it's going to take some time to figure out what's going to go there," he said. "And with what's going on with oil prices right now, with any new development, we've got to be conservative in our approach."
Hedwig Redevelopment Partners also owns property to the west of the Las Alamedas site, between Brogden and Old Voss. All of that property is leased, Darnall said, and there are no current development plans.
The nearly 15,000-square-foot Las Alamedas building was just outside Loop 610 along the south side of Interstate 10. The 2.5-acre property backs up to high-end Memorial homes.
In 2009, Brady Wilkins, then with Wexford Capital Partners, listed the property for $6.5 million. The seller was Alamex Co.
The final purchase price was not disclosed.
"We'll certainly be working on finding the highest and best use for the property," Darnall said, "and hopefully redeveloping it into something that the respective neighborhood would enjoy."